A multi-core processor combines two or more independent processors into a single package or integrated circuit. Each core or processing unit read and execute program instructions independently. Multiple cores allow execution of multiple instructions simultaneously thereby increasing overall speed for programs like in parallel computing. Thus, increasing cores increases efficiency. Each core can independently follow steps such as fetch, decode and execute, known as the instruction cycle.
A dual-core CPU has two central processing units on the CPU chip. A quad-core CPU has four central processing units, an octa-core CPU has eight central processing units, and so on.
Multi-core Processor Advantages
The advantage of using multiple cores on the same die improves performance by allowing multiple instructions to run concurrently. This improves parallel computing resulting in increased multitasking capability and the efficiency of a system. The extent to which a multi-core processor improves performance depends on the software algorithms used and their implementation. Maximum benefit can be achieved when the software can run in parallel simultaneously on multiple cores.
Moreover, multicore processors run at lower frequencies when compared to a single processing unit. This allows for reduced power dissipation resulting in lower temperatures. The communication between cores is also very fast due to the close proximity between them. Which also allows faster data transfer and improves the performance of the cache.
Multicore processors also provide more reliability as compared to single-core processors as faults and delays in one core will not affect operations of another core. This becomes important for mission-critical, safety-critical, and security-critical applications.« Back to Definition Index